A new website has been launched for parents to find out how at risk their children are from coronavirus at school.
The National Education Union has developed the online tool, that lets mothers and fathers type in the school’s name and see levels of infection in the area.
It displays the number of Covid-19 cases in their locality, whether it is on a watchlist or if local restrictions are in place.
The NEU believes it will reinforce public health messaging from local authorities and Government where cases are higher.
It adds that it says it hopes the map will also reassure parents of children in low case areas.
The site will use the increased amounts of data now made available by the Government. Cick here to visit the website.
Commenting on the launch, Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said:
‘Everyone in the education sector has worked hard to make full opening of schools, colleges and universities as successful as possible this autumn, but they have been let down by the Government which hasn’t even ensured that Covid testing has kept pace with need.
‘The NEU School Covid Map presents up to date information on the Covid rate in every part of England. This website will support public health messaging everywhere. We believe it has the clearest information. We hope that it will encourage ongoing conversations about school safety, and how everyone can play their part.
The new website can be used to find any schools, no matter if they are independent or private
Pupils in Huddersfield adopting new Covid-secure measures for their return to the classroom
Some schools have struggled with the return after lockdown over fears of infections rising
‘But this website will also encourage parents to support our asks of the Government that they help to support safety in our schools and colleges.
‘We have written to the Prime Minister calling for much quicker testing for staff and students, Nightingale sites for smaller classes, guaranteed home working for vulnerable staff, and more funding for already strained schools and colleges to maintain Covid-security.
‘Parents, students and staff also need urgent answers on next year’s exams, and how fit for purpose they will be. This is in light of not only the past summer’s fiasco, but also the disruption of local lockdowns in the months ahead.’
The site comes after parents and teachers aired serious concerns about going back into schools after the strict coronavirus lockdown.
Coronavirus figures for the UK show cases are rising again for the second wave
Previously NEU chiefs have called on the government to create ‘Nightingale classes’ amid a drop in the number unable to fully open due to Covid-19.
The latest government figures revealed one in six state secondary schools could not fully open last week – with most unable to do so because of coronavirus.
Schools are considered to be not fully open if they are unable to provide face-to-face teaching for all pupils for the whole school day and have asked a group of students to self-isolate.
Latest school attendance statistics reveal approximately 84 per cent of state-funded secondary schools were fully open on September 24 – down eight per cent from a week earlier.
Bosses from the NEU, the largest education union in the UK, have renewed calls on the government to create ‘Nightingale classes’ in a bid to get all of the country’s students back into lessons.
According to the Department for Education (DfE)’s latest school attendance statistics, approximately 84 per cent of state-funded secondary schools were fully open on September 24 – down from 92 per cent a week earlier.
The cause of schools not being fully open was ‘mostly due to Covid-19 related reasons’, the DfE said.
The Prime Minister displayed the latest slides on the status of coronavirus at the No10 press conference tonight
A row raged over the government’s decision to send children back to school, with scientists warning of the return triggering a devastating second wave of Covid-19 that could infect twice as many as the first.
In August, scientists said reopening schools in the UK would inevitably result in another crisis that peaks in December.
In a major study, experts found that to prevent a second wave when schools reopen, the NHS contact tracing system must reach 68 per cent of cases and their contacts.
The Government in August announced that face masks will be compulsory in the communal areas of secondary schools in parts of England which are subject to local lockdowns.
A decision on whether to wear masks in non-lockdown area schools was left up to individual head teachers.
The change in policy came after days of ministers and Downing Street insisting there were no plans to change the guidance in England which had said masks were not necessary if all other hygiene measures were adhered to.
Schools cited fears of increased bullying, of pupils wearing dirty reused masks and of it being harder to challenge bad behaviour in corridors because it may be unclear which children are responsible.
Teachers also said they had been left ‘dizzy from all of the U-turns that have happened this summer’.
Meanwhile, a school leaders’ union immediately challenged the Government’s approach as it said it will be telling all of its members, regardless of whether they are subject to local lockdown, to ask pupils and staff to wear face coverings in communal spaces.
The eleventh-hour change in tack followed new advice from the World Health Organisation at the weekend.
Tory MPs have been left fuming by the handling of the issue with one senior figure describing the situation as an ‘utter s***show’ and said it was ‘beyond comprehension’ that the decision had not been taken earlier.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson defended the move this morning as he said the safety of pupils is ‘absolutely critical’.